How should Christians respond to hostility to their faith in the workplace? Some people believe that faith should be private, not to be shared or otherwise evident in the workplace. Others object to hearing talk about Jesus, complaining that they do not want Christians imposing their beliefs on them. They contend that the workplace should be a religious free zone.
St. Paul has a beautiful and comprehensive definition of love in his first letter to the Corinthians. He says love is patient and kind, does not engage in envy, nor boasts of being proud. It is not rude or self-seeking, easily angered, or keeps a record of wrongs; love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. He says that love should always protect, trust, hope and persevere. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
There is no law against love in the workplace. There is no employee handbook that can object to conduct exhibiting these characteristics. If as Christians, we adhere to these actions, we will stand out; people will notice that we are different; they will seek our counsel and advice on both business and personal matters.
When I worked at Mobil, there was a certain executive who, when he learned of my affiliation with a Christian ministry called Christians in Commerce, would mock my Christianity when we were with other colleagues, but when we were alone would ask me numerous questions. With others present he would contend that Christians in Commerce was an oxymoron, but privately, he would ask me what we did, and seek my opinion on things in the Bible he did not agree with. Whether he realized it, he was searching for God, and because of the credibility established in our relationship over many years, the Lord may have given me the opportunity to plant some seeds.
Our initial witness to Jesus Christ is usually better accomplished with conduct than words. The conduct establishes the credibility and opens the door for the words to have more impact when the opportunity arises. The expression, “talk is cheap” applies to Christians too. If you want the opportunity to witness to Christ with your words, witness first with your conduct. Hostility to Christians in the workplace is often a reaction to words that come before the credibility of affirming conduct.
What workplace can object to patience, kindness, humility, forgiveness, truth, protection, hope, trust, perseverance – in other words, love?